Former British spy Christopher Steele is backing out of a public appearance before a pro-democracy group, a move which comes in the wake of congressional testimony that undercuts some of the core allegations that the former British spy makes in his infamous anti-Trump dossier.
According to Politico, Steele was scheduled to speak by video at an event hosted next week by the Renew Democracy Initiative, a pro-democracy group founded by chess master Garry Kasparov. But the former MI6 officer cancelled the appearance after getting “cold feet,” according to Anne Applebaum, a Washington Post columnist who is moderating the panel on which Steele was to appear.
The event would have been Steele’s first public remarks in nearly two years, since just after BuzzFeed News published the dossier.
Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen undercut one of dossier’s most serious allegations during testimony last Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Cohen denied, under oath, that he has visited Prague or the Czech Republic. Steele alleged that Cohen visited Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials to arrange secret payments to hackers who stole emails from the DNC and Clinton campaign.
Cohen only denied the Prague allegation during his open testimony, but GOP California Rep. Devin Nunes suggested on Monday that the former Trump fixer disputed all of the dossier’s allegations during a closed-door hearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last Thursday.
Steele was slated to speak alongside Evelyn Farkas, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia during the Obama administration.
Steele’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, has not respond to multiple requests for comment about Cohen’s testimony.